The 1990 Batman arcade game was based on the 1989 film starring Michael Keaton (Batman) and Jack Nicholson (The Joker), whose voice clips appear in-game. The game was a scrolling beat em up where the player would have to fight their way through stages based on in-film locations to eventually battle the Joker face on. Other stages of the game included allowing the player to control the Batmobile and the Batwing.
With the classic Robotron: 2084 as its predecessor, it was impossible not to add Smash TV in our Arcade History series. The plot of this significant game was that ‘Smash TV’ was a futuristic game show (set in the then futuristic 1999) where players would compete for various prizes and ultimately their lives.
Moving from one room to another in the studio the player would have had to shoot down hordes of enemies whilst simultaneously collecting a variety of weapons, power ups and assorted bonus prizes. The Final Showdown round had the player encounter the host (who acts as a voice-over throughout the rest of the gameplay) to accept their prizes and be awarded their lives and freedom. If the player had collected enough keys over the course of the game, they were able to access the bonus round ‘Pleasure Dome’.
Interestingly, Pleasure Dome was not shipped with the original release of the game as the production team didn’t believe that anyone could complete Smash TV. However, when reports started coming in that people were completing the game a revised version was shipped to arcades.
Sega’s beat em up classic Alien Storm told the story of an alien invasion on Earth wherein the Alien Busters had to fight back. The game allowed the player to choose between the three Alien Busters Karen, Garth and Scooter the Robot.
They would then be tasked to complete 9 missions where they would eliminate the aliens from certain areas (from the streets to the alien mothership), all the while working to their mission objective which would be along the likes of saving people or destroying UFOs.
The aliens could hide in plants, post-boxes, trash cans and drums to name a few; and some would emit a floating head after being destroyed, which would give the player either an extra life or energy when shot.
Alike many of Sega’s beat em up’s of the time, the game followed a distinctive pattern of all of the characters having unlimited usage of short-range attacks (kicks and punches) as well as having their own weapons and special attacks. In Alien Storm, Garth’s special attack was that he would summon a US Airforce Star-ship that would bomb the area. Scooter would teleport out of his present location, leaving behind a series of bombs that would explode upon alien contact. Finally, Karen could call down a nuclear missile attack that targeted every enemy on screen.
There were few bosses in the game play, with the arcade version of the game featuring primarily one boss who appears in three separate forms.